The new executive director of a local independent senior living community believes his background in a different industry will be an asset in his current role.
Brian LaSalle took the helm at The Gables of Brighton in mid-April. He previously spent more than two decades in the hotel and hospitality industry, working for well-known brands such as Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt International.
Since being hired, LaSalle has hit the ground running with the goal of achieving a one hundred percent occupancy rate at the senior community.
“It’s full speed ahead,” he said.
While LaSalle spent most of his career working in the hotel industry, he stepped away from it a few years ago to work in the restaurant industry.
Although he returned to his original field, helping hotels rebuild after being decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, he wasn’t fulfilled.
“I was happy to be back, but the spark just wasn’t there,” LaSalle said.
His interest was piqued upon seeing a job posting for The Gables of Brighton, where he believed he could put his experience to good use.
“It sounded like an extended-stay hotel,” he said.
After a months-long interview process, LaSalle was offered the job and has since spent his time getting to know the residents and learning how to best serve them.
The position also brought LaSalle back to the Rochester region where he grew up.
Since residents live at The Gables longer than guests visit a hotel, LaSalle can develop longer-term relationships and have a greater impact.
“This gives me an opportunity to help people on a human level,” he said.
LaSalle’s appointment is not the only change at the independent senior living community. There are many new people in roles there, including in sales, activities and maintenance.
“It’s a great team,” LaSalle said.
Additionally, The Gables of Brighton has been under management of Indiana-based Priority Life Care for the past couple of years and the company is investing in the community, making upgrades to modernize the location.
The community, built in the mid–1980s, needed some TLC, LaSalle said.
Priority Life Care has been completing exterior and interior upgrades and renovations since taking ownership, including installing a new roof, he noted.
A kitchen renovation is currently underway and apartment remodels — including the installation of new countertops, cabinets and flooring — are being done to accommodate new residents before they move in.
The independent senior living community has 103 apartments and includes studio and one- and two-bedroom units.
James McLellan, director of sales and marketing, said one of the unique features of the community is the 16 floor plans available to residents.
That selection, along with the upgrades being done to the site, allows people greater customization of the apartments, he said.
The efforts are paying off, McLellan said, noting that he receives inquiries about the apartments daily and has had 10 people move-in over the past month.
Those moving in include people from the Rochester area and others from areas such as Westchester County, California and Florida.
Occupancy has risen to roughly 80 percent and people are continuing to call, he noted.
McLellan believes people are more interested in being part of a community following COVID-19 when they may have been isolated in their homes.
“People want to socialize, they want to have good meals and find a community,” he said. “They want a good quality of life.”
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